Archive for January, 2007

Quiet, too quiet

January 30, 2007

Well, yes it has been on this blog, which is what comes of trying to get some paid work done and to make some progress with the book.

I’m deep in chapter 3, on the quality of national democracies and initiatives to make them better. It has taken me into research on the UK parliamentary debate on Iraq in March 2003, on to Tony Blair’s serial lying on the issue, and the UK Power Inquiry and some of its related input.

It’s thrown up some interesting sites on leaked Iraq documents, the Trident nuclear debate and the Power Inquiry follow-up. That’s as much as I can give at the moment.

I am hoping to post downloadable work in progress pretty soon, drawing ideas from principles used in the open-source software book The Cathedral and the Bazaar by Eric Steven Raymond. The plan is to offer free downloads of the whole text and the opportunity to buy a hard copy, once it’s finished.

Bears against bombs

January 16, 2007

It’s that man Brian Haw again, this time in a Guardian article on his former protest materials being recreated in Tate Britain by artist Mark Wallinger.

I like this excerpt from the end of the piece:
“However critical such art may itself be, it also serves to highlight the institution’s liberalism, by allowing it to be there in the first place. Such inclusiveness, as Susan Sontag argued, defuses the very criticism being offered. What State Britain offers is a sort of portrait of British institutions at a time of war, of the lip service government pays to dissent, on the attacks being made on our freedoms in the name of security, on the impotence of protest and of art itself as a form of protest. How rich this work is, and how saddening our state.”

And no, I have not become Brian’s press officer it’s just hard to get him out of my head when I think that he’s standing by the traffic in the cold as I sit in comfort writing this blog. The film I did of him at Christmas has had 817 hits as of today and 17 ratings. It seems at once a lot and then nothing. If YouTube-type journalism is to be an alternative to the mainstream for me then I am going to have to learn how to get it out there better.

Which reminds me, the person getting tonnes of hits on Iraq goes by the username of freedomandemocracy. You can see an example of the powerful work here. It raises once more the question of how best to get people moving, how to engage them in political issues. Does it work?

Happy day

January 9, 2007

I had been wondering over the past few days about whether to write anything about Saddam Hussein’s execution, caught between adding my tiny voice to the cacophony versus keeping quiet and getting on with some paid work or God forbid, my book.

I needn’t have worried, having been sent a link to this blog, written by a UK-resident US citizen journalist who practises yoga and meditation. I think he covers all the bases. It’s great to come across someone thinking along the same lines, none of us can do everything.